Kingyo on Denman Street in Vancouver

The noble izakaya is a beautiful thing.  Good food at a good price.  A comfortable and unpretentious atmosphere.  And booze…lots of booze.  Kingyo does all of these things, and it does them very, very well.

This past weekend I at lunch at Kingyo because my wife and I happened to walk by.  The restaurant looks unassuming from the front, but once you step into its wood-lined walls you are immediately greeted by the restaurant’s enthusiastic and attentive staff.

Kingyo's Kakuni Pork

On the menu for me was the Kakuni Pork – pork (belly, I think) simmered for a number of hours, and placed in a rice bowl with a semi-boiled egg.  The bowl was garnished with some dried seaweed and green onions to give this otherwise rich dish a little bite.  The pork was absolutely wonderful.  The fat and meat had melded together into lovely, creamy strips that fell apart as I picked each morsel up.  I mixed the unset egg yolk into the rice and pork mixture, giving the dish a wonderful, luscious texture.

The dish is served with a red miso soup, which was loaded with vegetables, and a small dish of pickled vegetables to refresh and reanimate my taste buds.  This was a wonderfully executed dish at an astonishing (less than $10) value.

Salmon and Horse Mackerel

My wife ordered the daily grilled fish (salmon and horse mackerel were on the menu), which came with rice, pickled vegetables, two tomato globes that had been pickled in dashi, grated daikon (infused with what looked like parts of shiso leaves) and red miso soup.  This dish was simple and very tasty.  One got the sense that the salmon had been frozen, but that aside, her dish, like mine, was a success.  The mackerel was moist and the salmon cooked well.  There was even a miso-based sauce that added a little flavour bump.

Like my dish, the fish dish was amazing value – just over $10.  As such, the two of us ate a wonderful lunch for under $25.  The speed at which the dishes came out was also admirable.  We waited less than 15 minutes to get both dishes, and we were happy to chat quietly with the music of Clementine playing softly in the background.

As we left, the entire staff shouted out a thank you to us and the greeter opened the door for us.  I was sad to go, but will definitely return.

Kingyo Izakaya 金魚居酒屋 on Urbanspoon